Torah Thoughts

Enjoy powerful messages and ideas relevant to the weekly Parsha and season.

Nitzavim/Vayelech 5780

 

Happiness 24/7

בָֽחַרְתָּ֙ בַּֽחַיִּ֔ים לְמַ֥עַן תִּחְיֶ֖ה אַתָּ֥ה וְזַרְעֶֽךָ

There is a well-known phrase in Judaism, which also became a popular song מצוה גדולה להיות בשמחה תמיד. The question is does one of the תרי”ג מצות really obligate one to constantly be בשמחה, or is it just a Torah oriented perspective one should have? And if there really is such a מצוה, why is it a מצוה גדולה as opposed to other מצוות? Read More..

Ki Savo 5780

 

Coming and Going

During the Brachos that the Jews received on Har Grizim, the Pasuk says ברוך אתה בבאך וברוך אתה בצאתך (כח, ו). On this Pasuk, Rashi writes שתהא יציאתך מן העולם בלא חטא כביאתך לעולם that a person should leave this world without sin just like he enters the world without sin. The Ohr Hachaim adds that this can be accomplished with the means of Torah as it protects a person from sin.

However, this explanation of Rashi is challenging Read more..

Ki Seitzei 5780

 

Confused Home Confused Son

In the Parshah of Motzi Shem Rah, the Psukim say the following:

(ולקח אבי הנער ואמה והוציאו את בתולי הנער אל זקני העיר השערה:  ואמר אבי הנער אל הזקנים את בתי נתתי לאיש הזה לאשה וישנאה (כב, טו-טז

Rashi points out the fact that both the father and mother bring their daughter to court, but only the father speaks teaches us מלמד שאין רשות לאשה לדבר בפני האיש. That a wife does not have permission to speak in front of her husband.

However, in the beginning of the Parshah when it talks about Ben Sorer Umoreh Read More..

 

Matos-Masei/Rosh Chodesh Av 5780

 

Bad Vibes

בתענית דף כט. אמר רב יהודה בריה דרב שמואל בר שילת משמיה דרב כשם שמשנכנס אב ממעטין בשמחה כך משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה אמר רב פפא הלכך בר ישראל דאית ליה דינא בהדי נכרי לישתמיט מיניה באב דריע מזליה ולימצי נפשיה באדר דבריא מזליה

The Gemara in Taanis 28a says the just like when the month of Av enters we decrease our happiness, so too when the month of Adar begins we increase our happiness. Rav Papa continues, therefore a Jew that has a court case with a non-Jew should avoid having it in the month of Av because we have bad mazal and instead have it in Adar when we have healthy mazal.

The usage of the words הלכך-therefore in the beginning of Rav Papas statement seems to indicate Read More..

Pinchas 5780

 

Day In and Day Out

The Mishna in Taanis 26a lists five tragedies that occurred on the 17th of Tammuz: the Luchos were broken, the Korban Tamid ceased to be brought, the city of Jerusalem was breached, אפוסטמוס burned a Sefer Torah, and erected an idol in the Heichal. The Rambam in Hilchos Taanis (5:2) quoting this Mishna writes the following:

ושבעה עשר בתמוז וחמשה דברים אירעו בו נשתברו הלוחות, ובטל התמיד מבית ראשון והובקעה ירושלם בחורבן שני ושרף אפוסטומוס הרשע את התורה והעמיד צלם בהיכל עכ”ל

The first question one could ask is that the majority of the tragedies that occurred on the 17th of Tammuz can be understood innately as tragic. However, the tragedy of the cessation of the Korban Tamid being brought on face value doesn’t seem to carry the same weight as the other tragedies. Therefore, what was so tragic about the Korban Tamid not being brought? Furthermore, Read more..

Chukas/Balak 5780

Selfless Prayer

וידבר העם באלהים ובמשה למה העליתנו ממצרים למות במדבר כי אין לחם ואין מים ונפשנו קצה בלחם הקלקל: וישלח יקוק בעם את הנחשים השרפים וינשכו את העם וימת עם רב מישראל: ויבא העם אל משה ויאמרו חטאנו כי דברנו ביקוק ובך התפלל אל יקוק ויסר מעלינו את הנחש ויתפלל משה בעד העם   (כא,ה-ז)

On Pasuk ה quoted above Rashi writes השוו עבד לקונו, meaning that it was at this complaint that Klal Yisrael equated Hashem and Moshe. In Pasuk ז where Moshe beseeches Hashem on behalf of Klal Yisrael, Rashi writes מכאן למי שמבקשים ממנו מחילה שלא יהא אכזרי מלמחול.

The fact that Read More..

Korach 5780

How to Fight

After the incident with Korach, the Pasuk says (ולא יהיה כקרח וכעדתו (יז,ה. There are many commentaries who learn from this Pasuk that there is a prohibition to engage in מחלוקת. How exactly does one define such a prohibition? Read more..

Shelach 5780

The Emes of Sheker

After the Meraglim come back from spying out Eretz Yisrael, they begin giving over their report. The Pasuk says ויספרו לו ויאמרו באנו אל הארץ אשר שלחתנו וגם זבת חלב ודבש הוא וזה פריה (יג,כז). At the beginning of the report, they seem to be positive and it is only in the following Pasuk which reads אפס כי עז העם וכו’ where the report turns negative.

Regarding the mention of וגם זבת חלב ודבש הוא וזה פריה, Rashi commentsכל דבר שקר שאין אומרים בו קצת אמת בתחלתו, אין מתקיים בסופו. Meaning, in order to sustain a lie, it must first be accompanied with some truth, and only then could the lie exist. Therefore, in order for the Meraglim’s lie to be believed by the people, they first needed to start with some truth.

But how could Rashi refer to the remainder of the Meraglim’s report as שקר if they were merely reporting what they saw? Read more..

 

Behaaloscha 5780

 

In Parshas Behaaloscha, the בני ישראל complain that they do not have meat to eat. This was in spite of the fact that all if their needs were taken care of, and that they had heavenly bread delivered to them which tasted like anything that they wanted. [From here we see how far the יצר הרע can fool us. He was somehow able to convince the people that the thing they were lacking was meat. Even though they had everything, even the feel and taste of meat in the Mon, they still found room to complain that they could not see the meat!]. Read More..

Naso/Shavuos 5780

 

Unity

Much scholarly literature has already been written regarding the placement of Shavuos between the Parshiyos of Bamidbar and Naso. So who are we to suggest other explanations? But we will nonetheless make an attempt.

Regarding why Shavuos is next to Bamidbar, Tosfos in Megilah 31b writes that Atzeres (Shavuos) is specifically after Bamidbar and not Bechukosai in order that that curses in Bechukosai should not be immediately juxtaposed to Shavuos. We see a clear reason why Shavuos comes after Bamidbar.

(For more explanation on the deeper connection between Bamidbar and Shavuos, see Drash Moshe on Parshas Bamidbar)

But what could be its connection to Parshas Naso?

Read More..

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